District 191 readjusts finances in light of new state budget

Posted under Burnsville Briefs,Eagan Briefs on Thursday 4 August 2011 at 10:21 am

The newly approved state budget will result in $8 million less in cash flow than expected for Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 during the 2011-12 school year and will require the district to borrow funds to pay for operating expenses.

Legislators and the governor agreed to shift funding and delay aid payments to all school districts in order to balance the state’s budget.

“This added financial stress makes it even more important that we move forward with changes that will allow us to continue to offer the high quality education our community expects and our students deserve,” Board Chair Ron Hill said.

He said that over the past three years, the board has charted a course that includes:

• Reaffirming the district’s mission to provide every student with relevant and challenging learning experiences.

• A focus on improving curriculum and instruction.

• Restructuring the organization for sustainability.

• Creating budget documents that are easier to understand and more transparent so that more effective communication regarding the financial state of the district can take place with all stakeholders.

The board adopted a 2011-12 budget that spends $4 million less than the previous year and uses $2 million of the district’s budget reserve.

The board also voted unanimously to ask voters in November to renew an existing levy that will expire in 2013. It provides about $10 million in revenue each year. Approval of the levy would extend it for another 10 years at no increase to taxpayers.

Another major financial factor comes into play as the board begins negotiating contracts with its eight employee groups that include about 93 percent of the district’s 1,245 employees.

Hill said the board has made the following commitments to collective bargaining.

The district will:

• Respond to the public’s immediate and long-term interests.

• Put students first in all district concerns.

• Consider the public’s ability and willingness to pay for quality educational programming.

• Ensure efficiency in district operations and accountability for all employees.

“We understand that negotiating new labor contracts may require tough decisions; especially in difficult economic times,” said Hill, who along with board members Dan Luth and Jim Schmid will represent the board in negotiations. “Therefore, all decisions will be based on what our district believes to be good educational and fiscal management.”

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Mental health services will be offered at District 191 schools

Posted under Burnsville Briefs,Eagan Briefs on Thursday 4 August 2011 at 10:18 am

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 has formed a partnership with Headway Emotional Health Services to provide counseling services and support to students and families beginning this fall.

Each school will have at least one licensed professional through Headway, a local nonprofit mental health care provider formerly called The Storefront Group.

The mental health professionals will become a part of the school community, respond to mental health needs, proactively support student success, and be available in case of a crisis, said Dawn Willson, the district’s director of health services.

The district will be using grant dollars to put these services in place. Services will be free to families without insurance. Headway can bill private health insurance and medical assistance for families that have coverage.

Scheduled hours will be arranged at each school. Parents can check with their child’s school for hours of availability.

The district already has medical and dental services for families at Diamondhead Education Center through partnerships with Park Nicollet Foundation and Children’s Dental Services. For more information, go to www.isd191.org.

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Fiddler featured at farmers’ market

Posted under Eagan Briefs,Thisweekend on Thursday 4 August 2011 at 10:18 am

April Verch Band (Photo submitted)

The April Verch Band, a fiddle-driven Canadian roots-music trio, will be the headlining act at Eagan Market Fest on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

The weekly, city-run Market Fest offers live entertainment, in addition to a farmers’ market and family activities, each Wednesday night throughout the summer at Central Park, 1501 Central Parkway, and admission is free.

Also set to perform Aug. 10 are Bill and Kate Isles; the music runs from 4 to 8 p.m.

More information is at www.cityofeagan.com/marketfest.

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Rahn Elementary is an arts and technology magnet school

Posted under Burnsville Briefs,Eagan Briefs on Thursday 4 August 2011 at 10:15 am

This fall, when Rahn Elementary School in Eagan opens its doors to students, it will be as an arts and technology magnet school. After surveying parents and staff members, a 16-member panel led by Principal Elaine Mehdizadeh developed and recommended the concept to the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District 191 Board of Education last fall.

Rahn will be the sixth magnet school in District 191. Magnets offer enhanced learning themes in addition to the district’s core curriculum.

Other magnet programs in the district include:

• STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) at William Byrne Elementary and Metcalf Junior High in Burnsville.

• Gifted and Talented at Harriet Bishop Elementary and Eagle Ridge Junior High in Savage.

• AVID, a schoolwide college readiness program, at Nicollet Junior High in Burnsville.

For more information about Rahn Elementary School, call (952) 707-3600 or go to www.isd191.org/rahn.

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Portables to be removed from four schools

Posted under Burnsville Briefs,Eagan Briefs on Thursday 4 August 2011 at 10:11 am

Forty-year-old portable classrooms will be removed from four elementary schools in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 during the week of Aug. 8.

The portables were installed between 1971 and 1976 to ease overcrowding at the schools and have been in use ever since. The normal lifetime of the attached units is 25 years.

A Facilities Utilization Task Force determined a year ago that the aging portables had outlived their usefulness and should be removed from Gideon Pond, Vista View, Sioux Trail and Edward Neill elementary schools in Burnsville.

“Lloyd’s Construction will begin the demolition, which should only take one week for all four sites,” said Jon Deutsch, the district’s director of operations and properties. “After the portables are removed we will assess the building and any repair needs.”

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